Resident Evil 2 Review

I assumed this game was going to make me feel like I was playing Resident Evil 2 for the first time all over again like in the original PlayStation days. They share the same name, so I was expecting the obvious. But this game quickly reminds me… this is not a remake. ‘Remake’ isn’t the correct title for this game. This is a reimagining of the original game. Yes, it shares a name and shares the same setting and story of the original, yet it brings it to a whole new level by presenting itself as a stand-alone game and never resting on its laurels riding off the back of the popularity of the “original.”’ Yes, there are throwbacks to the original title that some old fans of the series will get a kick out of, but ultimately, this is a stand-alone/re-do of an older generation story/game.

Resident Evil 2 brings the best things from the classic survival horror genre into the now. Even though the controls might not be “tanky” like many of the classic horror genre’s titles tended to be, this game brings that feeling of dealing with hard controls and tight camera angles by emphasizing something else entirely: “stress management.” As most survival horror games boast, you must manage your resources to a “T” while also exploring close quartered areas with hoards of horrors that could come out of nowhere. This title is no different in this regard to any of its cohorts, except it tends to put a heavier emphasis on this than any other game in the series. When I mention that I ran out of bullets more than I can count, I mean it. As a veteran to the genre, I tend to manage my resources well, yet I found myself scrapping for bullets many times. This game puts a heavy emphasis on not wasting a single thing… even if it means trekking through hordes of enemies to be able to save that one valuable shotgun shell you have.

Resident Evil 2 allows you to shove grenades into an enemy’s mouth and shoot it for fun effects.

On top of struggling to keep all your resources managed, you also have to keep spaces open for the ever important “key-items” that are way too aplenty. As a veteran to the genre, you may not have too much of a problem with this, but a newcomer to the genre may be in for a beating when it comes to managing their resources. Keeping in mind “stress management”, the reason I mentioned this is because Resident Evil 2 does way more than make you manage your bullets. It also makes you plan out ahead of time where you want to go on the map to avoid the max number of enemies while also needing an escape plan at all times. It is especially important because this tile brings back something that was definitely reminiscent of its predecessor… the “Tyrant.” This beast of an enemy cannot be killed and will “free-roam” around while you run through the game. This makes every run in with this monster a nightmare for the unprepared. I almost always found myself stressing out and on the edge of my seat when I would hear the Tyrant’s foot steps down a hallway. He will always end up, at some point, in-between you and your destination, and without warning, you must shake him off to find yourself progressing.

The Tyrant patiently waiting for Claire to leave her “safe zone”

The Tyrant adds so much to the game that I realized I got something I’ve been missing since the older games: the feel of dread. Playing through Resident Evil 2, you will understand what it is like to dread every mission, location, and puzzle. This game made itself very clear that it is not going to easy on its player, even in its available assisted mode.

The atmosphere starts strong right from the very beginning of this game

Beyond having to balance all unforeseen circumstances and your resources, the game presents the layout of its available settings in such a glorious and dreadful way… the only way a true horror survival game can do.  From walking down dim lit corridors, to treading through the sewers, you will always be worried something can happen at any minute…because it easily can. Be prepared to be on the edge of your seat every time you enter a new room, hallway, or setting all together.

Rick Grimes might need a brighter flashlight

Unlike previous entries to the series, not once did I find myself feeling “powerful” or prepared for any event or fight. This brings something that we do not see often in horror games to the forefront: the fact that EVERY enemy will be feared until the credit scene rolls. The feeling of staying “underpowered” all the way until the last boss fight, means that running into every zombie, “licker,” zombie dog, or odd plant like creature is a nightmare to deal with. Resident Evil 2 wanted to present itself as what a horror survival game can truly bring to the table, and oh boy did it bring something desirable…fear.

MFW I realized that zombies can take up to 7, yea 7, headshot to down for good

After plaything through a full campaign, you get the option to play through a 2nd play through as the other protagonist offered (Complete Leon first you get a 2nd Claire campaign, if you complete Claire first you get a 2nd Leon campaign). It is understandable how someone may not know this though, since it is not said anywhere until the completion of your first run through. I happened to play through Leon S. Kennedy’s campaign first (as seen in my first full playthrough impressions) and then tackled Claire’s second playthrough next. The second playthrough tends to be a tougher version of that specific character’s campaign, with changed puzzles and difficulty to keep you on your toes going into it.

Telemarketers wont even give me a break during the zombie apocalypse

Even though your second playthrough will differentiate from your last one and will be tougher, you will still have to tread through many of the same settings and puzzles all over again, except this time the solutions are a little different. This is enough to keep someone who really loved their first playthrough interested, but it does leave a little bit to be desired. For a game that emphasizes its multiple perspectives, it is unfortunate that so little continuity from the two main characters is presented in the second playthrough, which will have you rolling your eyes as you redo puzzles and fight the boss fights the other character should have dealt with at that point in the story. This is something that sort of “plagued” the original game and its sort of sad to see this amazing reimagining repeat the same mistakes as well. I cannot stress enough though, there are plenty of differences throughout the second playthrough to keep you hooked, but there may be some moments that slow down the narrative or experience since it will be treading old events and ground. Thankfully there is even more challenging content after the 2nd playthrough to keep momentum moving forward.

Yea sure… “neutralized.”

Even though Resident Evil 2 makes you retread old ground twice, it does so in such a way that you can dread it just as much, and if not even more than the first playthrough. Booting up the second playthrough made me fear the police station all over again, even though I just spent 3 hours in it the night before. Our very own Alejandro, relative newcomer to the series who started with the more action heavy games, found himself scraping by his first playthrough by the skin of his teeth and said: “screw Claire’s 2nd playthrough/campaign.” Yet, as I am writing this, I find out that he decided to pick up the controller one more time, ready and wanting to experience a second “beating.” If someone more used to the action oriented entries of the series (and also someone who is not a big fan of true horror in general) can find something endearing and enjoyable about this game, so can you.

Game overs are as terrifying as ever

In conclusion, the Resident Evil 2's remake is not just a remake…it’s something brand new. Through its brand-new visual engine, enemy designs, and mechanics, it will make new and old fans of the series fall in love with Resident Evil 2 all over again. From its amazing sound direction, its creepily unsettling environments, and the pure stress management, this game makes it obvious why the survival horror genre has so many fans (including myself) and why it will remain a staple game genre moving forward. Even though the second playthrough can be a little rough at times, it tends to overall stay interesting most of the way through. Resident Evil 2 may have a few flaws, but they are nothing that hold it back from shining as bright as it does in its genre… and as a game in general.

Hunk’s “the 4th survivor” run is just as brutal as the original game…oh, and Tofu is back

For all that this modern remake has to offer, it cannot be recommended enough to all veterans of the series and genre, even if it stands as a brutal “head first” entry point for many newcomers as well. Regardless if you’re a fan of the series, a veteran of the genre, or even a complete “weenie” when it comes to horror in general, we at “The Critical Corner” highly recommend you pick up this game as soon as you get the chance.

Highly Recommended

Written by Parker J. Hanson. Additional contribution and editing by Alejandro Segovia.

Resident Evil 2 was reviewed on a standard PlayStation 4 with a copy purchased by the reviewer. All pictures used were captured via the PlayStation 4''s SHARE feature.

Game Scoring rubric:
★ : 1 point  ☆ : 0.5 points

★★★★★: Essential. Excellent games. Close to flawless. Transcends any minor flaws it may have. 
   ★★★★: Great/Highly recommended. Great games. Some flaws worth mentioning, but nothing to worry about.
      ★★★: Okay/Recommended. Good games. Contains things worth playing & experiencing, but flaws can hinder the experience.
         ★★: Caution/Questionable. Mediocre games. The flaws start to significantly hinder anything good the game has.
             ★: Avoid. Bad games with terrible design decisions and flaws. No fun to be had. Don't waste your time.


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